Background: Various reports have suggested that epidemiological patterns of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are changing in high-income countries, but the evidence to support this is often indirect and only a few longitudinal studies exist. We aimed to explore epidemiological patterns of TBI in Belgium over a 10-year period. Methods: A retrospective analysis of Minimum Hospital Data provided by Statistics Belgium was performed for the period 2003-2012. ICD-9 classification was used to identify TBI and to differentiate subtypes. The annual incidence of hospital admissions and in-hospital mortality rates were calculated and further differentiated for age, gender and cause of injury. Results: The age-adjusted incidence of hospital admissions decreased by 3.6% per year. An increase in the number of elderly patients with TBI and a decrease in the younger age groups were found. Falls now represent the main cause of TBI. A mortality rate of 6.5 per 100,000 population per year was found and did not change significantly over time. Conclusions: This longitudinal study confirms that epidemiological patterns in TBI are changing: overall incidence is steadily decreasing, but in elderly patients, the incidence is increasing. Falls are the leading cause, occurring most frequently in elderly patients. These changes are relevant for prevention.

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Keywords Belgium, Epidemiology, Head injury, Incidence, Longitudinal study, Mortality, Traumatic brain injury
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Journal Neuroepidemiology
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/602150 - Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI (CENTER-TBI)
Peeters, W, Majdan, M, Brazinova, A, Nieboer, D, & Maas, A.I.R. (2017). Changing Epidemiological Patterns in Traumatic Brain Injury: A Longitudinal Hospital-Based Study in Belgium. Neuroepidemiology, 48(1-2), 63–70. doi:10.1159/000471877